Reddit, Etsy, Others Defend Sec. 230

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Internet companies including Reddit, Etsy and Dropbox have joined other Tech companies warning Congress anew about tinkering with their Sec. 230 shield from civil immunity for the third party content on their platforms.

That comes on the eve of a March 25 hearing in the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Big Tech's hosting of potentially dangerous disinformation.

Also Read: House Readies Disinformation Nation Hearing

The Internet Works coalition of slightly-less-big tech said that while they recognized "the harms that misinformation and extremism present online" and say they appreciate the light congress is putting on those "challenges," they also said that as the committee figures out how to meet those challenges, "it is important to remember that Section 230 does far more than protect internet businesses and organizations from liability when they host third-party content."

As have other big tech defenders, the group said Sec. 230 actually ensures safety.

Also Read: Sec. 230 Carve-Out Bill Reintroduced

They said there was no "one size fits all" answer for how to moderate content, "as Congress considers potential changes to Section 230, it’s important to remember that the law’s flexibility has allowed companies of all sizes to flourish and tackle the harms that are unique to their platforms."

They are particularly concerned that changes aimed at the largest social media platforms--like Google and Facebook and Twitter--"do not create unintended consequences for the rest of the internet." 

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) similarly warned about the consequences of damaging their liability shield.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.